The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Category: Five Finds on Friday

Five Finds on Friday: Hannah Deal

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Hannah Deal of Hannah’s Homemade, which makes nut and granola butters from sustainably sourced, 100% organic ingredients that are free of most common allergens. Deal hopes her business will draw attention to chronic illnesses, and she donates a portion of proceeds to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). You can meet Deal and sample her products tomorrow, January 26, at Feast! from 12-2 pm. Details here. Deal’s picks:

1) Roasted PEI Mussels at Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar. “I have eaten just about every dish at Orzo and while they are all incredible, their mussels appetizer is one of the best they’ve got. While I can no longer consume dairy as of 2017, I still dream about this dish and used to order it nearly every time I went. As a side note, I studied for a semester in Belgium (a place known for mussels) and couldn’t find any as good as Orzo’s. If that isn’t a testament to how good they are, I don’t know what is.”

2) Crab Soup at The Local. “Crab is a favorite food of mine, and since my family frequents the beach for vacations, I have had more than my fair share of crab soup over the years. I still remember where I sat when I took my first bite of The Local’s crab soup. It manages to be rich and creamy while not taking attention away from the most important ingredient; crab. As a bonus, you don’t feel like you’ve gained ten pounds after eating it. Similarly to the last dish, I can’t eat this one anymore, but I will still recommend it to anyone.”

3) Green Curry at Thai 99. “You can’t really go wrong when ordering green curry, but you can end up with a mediocre curry that you’ll forget about the next day. Thai 99’s is anything but mediocre and contains a blast of flavor and spice in each spoonful. As a bonus, this one works for all of the gluten-free and dairy-free folks out there! I could eat this every day during the winter, and then some.”

4) The Mayweather at Roots. “Roots is my go-to lunch place if I’m out working all day. I have eaten their Mayweather bowl so many times that the total is probably embarrassing, but their food is delicious and leaves me satisfied each time I go. I do make a few substitutions to create a dairy-free and gluten-free dish, but this is easy to do, and the staff are always so friendly. If you’re reading this and work at Roots, thanks for feeding me!”

5) Adam’s Apple at Revolutionary Soup. “This is the best sandwich I have ever had, period. Rev Soup takes some of the best, classic ingredients such as bacon, goat cheese, and apple, and puts them in between two slices of locally made bread slathered with homemade garlic aioli and local apple butter. You really can’t get better that! And while this sandwich is not allergen-friendly, most of their options are, which makes it a great place for just about anyone.”

Five Finds on Friday: Stephanie DeVaux

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Photo by Tiffany Sun.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from The Alley Light cook Stephanie DeVaux, who is also a private chef behind Holmes Dinner Club, which she calls an intimate, themed meal gathering “friends and strangers for an evening of food and drink – including a full hour of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a coursed dinner with beverage pairing.” Interested in becoming a member? Visit here. And for her private chef and catering services, visit here. DeVaux’s picks:

1) Tamarind Margarita at Milan. “Though I’m generally attracted to a more bitter profile when ordering cocktails, the Tamarind Margarita at Milan remains my most marvelous exception. It’s a wonderful balance of sweet and sour and provides an ultra-refreshing respite to some of the heat from my favorite Indian dishes there.”

2) La Chicana Burger at The Bebedero. “I have a thing for burgers, and after a personal, multi-year-long journey of citywide consumption, I really do have to settle on the La Chicana Burger at The Bebedero as the top of my list. It just gives me everything I want in a burger: locally sourced beef from Timbercreek, just enough spiciness without being overwhelming, lots of fat (in the form of guacamole and a super creamy mayo), acidic pickled veg to balance it out, and a generous dose of cheese.”

3) Mr. Rech at The Alley Light. “I may be biased since I’ve also worked in Chef Robin’s kitchen, but the Mr. Rech objectively remains the best dessert I’ve ever eaten in Charlottesville. Two dacquoise cookies surround a hazelnut semifreddo and the entire thing is drenched in hot chocolate sauce. It is the most elevated ice cream sandwich in town, and hands down the most delicious.”

4) Reserve Wine Pairing at Fleurie. “Most people already know that Fleurie is French fare at its best, but what I find even more standout than their food alone is its added nuances alongside the perfectly paired beverage. The reserve wine pairing option with their tasting menu is nothing less than a transformative experience, which I think most wine pairing programs try to be, but few actually succeed. In this case, the wine is excellent and the food is excellent, but together they change so much in their depth and intensity in the most stunning ways.”

5) Two Poached Eggs with Home Fries and Toast at Tip Top Restaurant. “There are a seemingly unlimited number of amazing breakfasts in Charlottesville, but I never crave anything like I crave a classic diner-style breakfast, so Tip Top is a frequent stop on my weekly breakfast rotation. It’s exactly what you expect it to be, so it’s partly the casual consistency I love most, but it’s also the buzzing, no-nonsense atmosphere there on weekend mornings. I will unabashedly push my breakfast partner into getting the biscuits and sausage gravy (so I can steal a bite), but my tried-and-true is the classic: two poached eggs with home fries and toast with butter.”

Five Finds on Friday: Ryan Davidson

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If you work in the Charlottesville food industry, you may recognize this week’s Five Finds on Friday participant, a young lady who has joined me on my food adventures ever since she changed my life eleven years ago today. With a boundless love of life and people, it seems Ryan has told most of Charlottesville’s servers that she likes their earrings. Happy birthday, Ryan. Ryan’s picks:

1) Parker House Rolls at Prime 109. “When I go to a restaurant, I always like it when they have bread. But, Prime 109’s Parker House Rolls are not just ordinary bread. You can smell them coming from the other side of the restaurant. And when you get them you can’t stop eating them. We always end up ordering a second one! They are warm and have a nice salty taste when eaten with butter. They are also almost as good at home! And, Prime 109 is the place where I’m going today for my birthday!”

2) Fried Chicken with Waffles and a Vanilla Milkshake at Smoked Kitchen & Tap. “Chicken, waffles, and syrup. There are so many flavors and I like how they fit together. Smoked is also where I had my first milkshake. I love vanilla, and when I heard vanilla ice cream was in that milkshake, I was really excited! Their milkshakes are creamy, sweet and, best of all, taste exactly like vanilla! I’ve had more milkshakes, but that one is still my favorite! Their chicken always comes out nice and hot, and the waffles freshly made. It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s totally worth it!”

3) Lumpia from Little Manila. “Ever since I was young, my brother and I would go to the market on Saturdays. And every Saturday, my brother would get what he called ‘egg rolls’ from Little Manila. Then he introduced them to me and I loved them. They have great flavors on their own, but even better in the sauce.”

4) Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light. “Sometimes after swimming at ACAC, I like to go to The Alley Light for a mocktail. Every time I go, Micah always makes a different one for me. But, the parts I like most are the fruity flavors and the tiki glasses.”

5) Kale Caesar at Chopt.  “After a soccer game, for me, the best thing to eat is a Kale Caesar from Chopt. I love salad, not only because it’s so healthy, but because of how many different types there are. My favorite by far is the Kale Caesar because I love kale and the dressing they use. I also think that one bonus is how they chop it. They chop it up so small, so that everything is mixed together.”

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